Highline Public Schools (HPS), Highline College and their community partners have been awarded a grant for $1,596,798 over two years by the King County Department of Human and Community Services and Puget Sound College and Career Network.
The grant program — King County Promise — is a public-private partnership engaging King County school districts to develop a comprehensive student support model, supporting historically underserved young people to obtain postsecondary credentials.
The four organizations are forming the Highline Promise Partnership. The funding will provide enhanced college and career exploration and experiences, family engagement, post-secondary transition support, and intensive retention and completion services for males of color starting in 10th grade through degree or certificate completion.
“This grant allows us to expand on what we know works—creating wrap-around services and opportunities for students so they are supported in and outside of the classroom,” said Janet Blanford, director of secondary success and college and career readiness in HPS. “We are proud to be participants in the inaugural cohort of King County Promise and look forward to improving post-secondary transition and completion outcomes for male students of color.”
Highline High School will pilot the program during the first year of the grant, with plans to expand to additional schools. HPS will also work closely with NWEA to engage youth who are at risk of not graduating or disengaged from school.
“I am deeply grateful to our partners at Highline College, NWEA and BAM for joining us in delivering on our Highline Promise to know every student by name, strength and need,” said HPS Superintendent Susan Enfield. “This new Highline Promise Partnership will build upon the extraordinary work that our team in Highline has been doing to ensure that each and every one of our students graduates prepared for the future they choose for themselves.”
Students who are placed in the program will receive direct support from advisors, case managers and education advocates to ensure they graduate high school and make a smooth transition into college.
“I have worked in higher education for well over two decades, and this happens to be one of the most impressive program models that I have engaged in developing,” said Highline College Interim Vice President of Student Services Jamilyn Penn. “As the partners move towards implementation of the project, I am enthralled by the fact that we will be instrumental in helping historically underserved young people obtain postsecondary credentials.”
The program will include culturally responsive teaching practices, co-curricular activities and mentorship opportunities.
Once at Highline College, students will receive an annual $1,000 equity stipend and have access to support services, including Summer Bridge, Umoja Black Scholars Program, TRiO, Center for Leadership & Service, Center for Cultural and Inclusive Excellence, MESA, Bridge to Finish, the United Way of King County Benefits Hub and more.
“I am thrilled to partner with Highline Public Schools, NWEA and BAM to propel our young Black and brown men of color toward a path of educational success,” said Highline College President John Mosby. “The education system has historically disadvantaged young Black and brown men and we know the pandemic has exacerbated that in some instances. The Highline Promise Partnership will help elevate those students by ensuring they graduate and persist through college so they may go on to hold successful careers.”